How to Make a Great First Impression at a Job Interview

How to Make a Great First Impression at a Job Interview


Content Writer: Christopher Wyant Christopher Wyant Talent Acquisition Support Specialist

Will Rogers famously said, "You never get a second chance to make a first impression."

Did you know that nearly 30 percent of interviewers decide within the first five minutes of an interview whether they'll move forward with the candidate? Just over 50 percent decide within 5-15 minutes.

This means you have to make a strong impression immediately!

We know that interviews can be stressful, but there are a few elemental building blocks that you can use to help you make a great first impression. Keep reading to learn all about them.

Making a Great First Impression 101

Congrats, you scored an interview! However, that's not the end of your journey. Now it's time to actually go to the interview. 

If you've never had an interview in a professional setting or if it has been a while, you may be unsure of proper interview etiquette. Consider these basics to make a great first impression:

Be on Time

Leave early enough to allow for traffic issues or unforeseen delays. Don't be late...for any reason! However, being too early may catch your interviewers off-guard.

If you get to the interview too early, stop at a local coffee shop and grab something to drink or sit in your car until there are ten minutes before your interview begins.

If you're not on time for the interview, this gives your interviewers the impression that you won't be on time for work if they hire you.

Be Dressed Appropriately 

If you are underdressed, you give the impression that you do not respect the position, but if you are overdressed, you convey that you do not understand the culture.

Bonus tip: If you are unsure of what to wear, visit the company's website and look for a section that includes photos or headshots. This will help you decide what type of attire is best to wear for your interview!

Keep in mind that less is more when choosing your outfit and accessories for your interview. You can add a pop of color to your outfit or wear a necklace, but don't overdo it. 

Be Prepared

This one is so important — know your own resume! Don’t get caught fumbling to remember your work history.

Always be ready with specific examples of your successes and failures. Having an immediate response conveys confidence and clarity of thought.

Do your research on the company and your interviewer. If you want to convince the interviewer that you're the best candidate for the job, you need to demonstrate a good understanding of what the job entails and be able to show that you would be a fit with the company culture.

Be Aware

You may be feeling a little nervous during your interview, but it's important to pay attention to your surroundings!

You can learn a lot by using observation skills. You can pick up on details about the company or the interviewer that allow you to make a stronger connection.

And remember, a stronger connection will help you make a great first impression.

Be Comfortable

Nerves are normal, but find a way to calm your inner-self in order to present your best outer-self!

When your heart and thoughts are racing, your peripheral field of vision (both literal and figurative) narrows.

Get plenty of rest, eat a healthy breakfast and don’t overschedule yourself and end up rushing to the interview.

Final Thoughts

Knowing what you control when given the opportunity to make a first impression is one part of the equation. What you do with the opportunity is the bigger part.

A friend once gave me some very good advice: Make sure your shoes are clean before you go into an interview. They weren’t so much telling me about my shoes as they were telling me to pay attention to the details.

When you pay attention to details, you will feel more in control of your overall image and presentation from the moment you walk into the interview. Good luck!